As 2016 gets underway, staff at Drusillas Park have once again started the biggest job of the zoo calendar - counting each and every animal for the New Year stock take.
The annual count is undertaken by keepers around the country at this time of year. It is completed as part of compliance with zoo legislation, which requires zoos and aquariums to keep precise records of every animal birth, death, arrival and departure.
Of course, the keepers are fully aware of how many residents they have in their care. However, the annual stock take provides an opportunity to ensure all the zoo records are up to date and accurate.
A lot has changed over the past twelve months at Drusillas, with a number of new additions to the park. Notable breeding successes have included the arrival of a critically endangered Sulawesi crested black macaque and a black lemur. The pitter patter of tiny paws was also heard at the emperor tamarins, kookaburras, flamingos, meerkats and squirrel monkeys.
With approximately 1,000 individual animals made up of more than 100 different species, the process can take several days. Counting some of the smaller creatures takes a great deal of patience and plenty of double-checking.
Head keeper Mark Kenward, said: “The number of animals we hold at the park changes all the time with new births or animals moving on to new collections to form new breeding pairs, and occasionally, the passing of some of our older residents. Drusillas’ annual count is a time when we can go through all the species we hold and check all our records are correct or tie up any loose ends. Working with the animals so closely, we know exactly who’s who and how many we have; this is simply a good exercise to ensure all the admin is accurate, enabling us to best manage the species for the future.”
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